We operate mostly out of western New Jersey, but the exact location of your balloon launch will not be determined until the day before (and often the day of) your balloon flight. This is because we need to determine the direction of the wind before deciding on the launch site.
The average balloon flight is about an hour. This depends on the landing opportunities in the direction of flight. But please plan for 3 to 3 1/2 hours for the entire experience from setting up the balloon, actual flight time, packing up the balloon, and returning to the launch site for our post-flight celebratory champagne toast.
We never know exactly where we will land. That is part of the fun! Often, to their delight, we surprise a landowner in their front yard. Other times, we can find a nice vacant park void of light poles or other obstacles. And we have even been known to find our way to small private local airports.
The chase team! After helping set up the balloon and helping to execute our launch, they follow us in the chase (or retrieval) vehicle. Using maps, and apps, radios, and often just old-fashioned "eyes to the sky", they prepare to meet us at our projected landing site. After packing up the balloon, we drive together back to the launch site.
As many as you would like, really. Though Just Ducky is for exclusive flights for two, We have other balloons that can accommodate up to four more passengers. It is not uncommon to have several balloons available for a larger group. For example, if you have a party of 10, we would have three balloons flying. It is quite like your own mini balloon festival and can be very entertaining to be able to watch each other from different balloons.
Though there is no legal age requirement, we have determined that approximately 8 years old is the minimum age to fly with us. It is important that each passenger be accountable for themselves and be able to take direction in case of a sporty landing. The sound of the burners can also be frightening for young children. If you have children who are very interested in the experience, we highly encourage that they be in attendance with another caregiver who can help them acclimate to the busyness of the set-up and then follow along either with the chase team or in their own vehicle to watch or take photos, and be present at the landing.
A typical balloon flight averages between 3-10 miles. Balloons fly in winds between 3-17 mph.
The day of your flight may be absolutely gorgeous, but may also be unsafe for a balloon flight. More than clear skies, the pilots are gathering aviation forecast data that will inform about the winds at higher altitudes. If the pilot determines that the winds are either too fast, or perhaps are heading in an unfavorable direction to conduct a safe flight, they will opt to cancel. Safety is the priority in all of the balloon operations.